West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor becomes patron of education programme tackling racial disparity

Alison Lowe OBE becomes patron of an innovative programme supporting Black students pursuing careers in academic research and beyond.

3rd October 2022

West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime becomes patron of an innovative programme supporting Black students pursuing careers in academic research and beyond.

The ASPIRE programme supports Black and mixed Black heritage students into postgraduate careers or further study. Run by Manchester Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University, the programme delivers a range of courses from professional development and CV writing to academic research skills.

The Deputy Mayor, Alison Lowe OBE, attended the ASPIRE showcase event on the eve of Black History Month (Friday 30 September) which celebrated the work of scholars graduating the programme.

This was also an opportunity for scholars to present projects addressing the access of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students to PhD study and the job market.

Speaking at the event, Alison Lowe OBE, said:

“I am honoured to be a patron of ASPIRE and delighted to have been part of the celebrations here today.

“Although there has been progress in tackling racial disparity within the higher education sector, there is still work to be done. This is why the ASPIRE programme is so crucial.

“I am committed to using my experience in social justice work, public service, and in equality, diversity, and human rights, to support ASPIRE, its scholars and their fantastic work.”

Dr Iwi Ugiagbe-Green, programme lead of ASPIRE at Manchester Metropolitan University added:

“Alison is an inspirational role model, who lives the values of ASPIRE in who she is and her ongoing impactful work for social justice. 

“We are a collective of people who have become a family. We are driven by aspiration and dedication to supporting each other in reaching our potential. This is the power of education and opportunity.

“My heartfelt thanks to the ASPIRE co-leads Dr Francis Awolowo and Dr Hannah Griffin-James and broader delivery team who have helped realise the vision. Special thanks also to our funders (Research England and Office for Students) and our partners for their continued investment and support. 

“It has been the honour of my working life to create this programme of opportunity and lead our learning community. I am proud that we are leading the anti-racism and social justice that we want to see in our universities through ASPIRE.”

The Deputy Mayor’s patronage for ASPIRE is her latest commitment to tackling racial inequalities. Regionally, Deputy Mayor Lowe is championing inclusivity alongside the Mayor, Tracy Brabin, in West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Plan. Nationally, Ms Lowe is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) lead on Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, and the joint chair of the APCC Working Group on Race Disparity.

For more information on the ASPIRE programme, including becoming a scholar or mentor, providing a placement, or delivering a workshop, please contact Dr Iwi Ugiagbe-Green i.ugiagbe-green@mmu.ac.uk